For millennia, the Southwest region has been a crossroads of cultures, languages, customs, and ideas. Its diverse ethnic groups and societies, past and present, lend the Southwest a distinct regional identity, shaped by the land itself.
It was in recognition of that special character that the Southwest Center was first conceived at a conference held at San Xavier del Bac Mission, outside Tucson, in 1978, when then-president John Schaefer and field historian Bernard L. Fontana, among others, first proposed that an institution devoted to regional studies be founded at the University of Arizona. Eight years later, their vision was realized with the formal establishment of the Southwest Center.
A research unit of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Arizona, the Southwest Center illuminates the character of the Southwest United States and Northwest Mexico region through innovative scholarship, publishing, teaching, and public outreach, and by serving as a forum for the free and open exchange of ideas from social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, and the arts.